Graduated Griffins: Jourdon LaBarber ’15

By Nathan Ress

Assistant Features Editor

Since 1870, Canisius College has been graduating students who go on to accomplish great things both within their fields and within their personal lives. This tradition is something that has continued into 2016, and remains the primary focus of the College. Throughout the year, The Griffin will be featuring such alumnus in their roles after graduating, elaborating on their own experiences and how it has helped them moving forward.

To start the installments, The Griffin spoke to Jourdon LaBarber, former Editor-in-Chief of our humble pamphlet, and graduate of the class of 2015. From there he went on to work for the Buffalo Sabres as a media correspondent. LaBarber was born and raised in Buffalo, staying in his hometown when the time came to choose a college.

From the start LaBarber had been interested in reporting, and chose to major in journalism. As he studied, he found professors who continued to foster this passion within him, and steer him in the right direction. He remembers such teachers as Rob Kaiser, a man who “loved [journalism]” in all its forms, and whose energy LaBarber remembers the most. It was such energetic and influential staff members that LaBarber believes made the Canisius experience as memorable as it was.

A few weeks into his freshman year, he found his way onto the staff of The Griffin as a sports writer. In this role he followed the Golden Griffins basketball squad, covering their games, standings, and developments. LaBarber recalls it as “hard work,” but recalls the experience fondly. He says, “it was good to work around local media,” people he encountered often at games and press events. He would watch and learn from these professionals, and it was in that arena that he truly honed his reporting skills.

As an upperclassman, LaBarber continued to move up in the ranks of The Griffin. As a junior he served as Sports Editor, and as a senior filled the role of Editor-in-Chief. He recalled fond memories of late Thursday nights, scrambling to get the paper finished and produced on time. At times, those nights can last well into the morning (2am, 3am, even 4am) and can be quite stressful, especially for an Editor-in-Chief. “However,” reminisced LaBarber, “those are some of my best memories.”

Using this college experience as a jumping off point, combined with an abundance of internship opportunities, LaBarber was able to find a journalistic career right out of College. Nowadays he follows the Buffalo Sabres as they travel the country striving to be slightly better than last place in the National Hockey League. He currently works as Marketing Coordinator, producing much of the content found on sabres.com. He attends everything from practices, games, and press events to get the latest news about everyone’s favorite local hockey team.

Looking back on his Canisius experience and how it led him this far, LaBarber laughs, “I changed a lot. I learned how to work hard.” He cites the energy and passion shown by many of his professors as the main force he felt as Canisius College, and his main inspiration afterward. Furthermore, he adds, “Set yourself apart,” urging students to find what they are passionate about and pursue it to the best of their abilities.

As a Buffalo student born and raised, LaBarber also had a few comments on the uplift of the city. “It’s amazing how different it is, and how different it’s becoming,” he said. As a correspondent for the Sabres, LaBarber spends a large amount of time downtown at the HARBORCENTER as well as First Niagara Center. From these locations he has an excellent view of the infrastructure taking place at Canalside as well as downtown.

LaBarber has felt first-hand the energy and enthusiasm of the people coming downtown to watch the Sabres play. He sees it as a good sign, and as setting a standard for the future culture of Buffalo.  “And,” says LaBarber, “it’s only going to grow.”

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